Looking Back To Move Forward

Instead of jumping in and trying to catch up a couple *cough* weeks, I thought I’d recap what happened on the blog in 2014 and share what I gleaned from doing a 52 Week Project. I’ll admit there were weeks where I struggled to get anything up but for the most part the highlight of my week was carving out that time, time spent just doing something solely because I enjoy it. That’s a big deal, giving yourself permission to step over the laundry basket, push aside the stack of unpaid bills and just create. That’s really why I started doing the recaps every week, I was hoping that the habit of shooting and writing would help jump start that mojo again. But when I do start to spend more and more time here, the justification argument begins to creep in and I find it hard to come up with more than a couple reasons with the why. Do I make money doing this? Heck no. Has it lead to other work? Yes. I try to remind myself of the latter. Perhaps a little bit of wishful thinking on my part but sometimes you just gotta hold onto the idea that one thing leads to the next. So here we are, 2015. I now have a year of documentation to look back on.  I already know what’s going to happen here, I’m going to see kids change adults no so much.

What WordPress had to say about 2014

At the end of the year I get a nice little report from the wordpress.com plugin Jetpack, it tells me how many visitors I had, top 10 posts, where people come from and what websites send me the most traffic. I look forward to it every January.


There are no surprises here, Pinterest is the #1 referrer along with The Pioneer Woman (xoxo), Facebook, Twitter and my photo site.


Top stories are always Make A Slideshow for Instagram Using Flipagram Photo Canvas Printing from Costco, Trader Joes Chunky Lentil Dip,  Ina’s Celery Root Puree and A Year In Review using Flipagram  – year after year. I know kinda zzzzzz isnt it. I’m thinking about ways I can shake this up.


No earthshattering news there as they are frequent squatters the sidebar under Top Posts Today. Which make me realize something, people are coming here because they want to read about one thing, not my weekly recaps, which begs the question, do I keep writing the other stuff, weekly recaps included.  That’s a difficult question to answer because I don’t know the behaviors well enough of my regular readers, I know I have a handful, and because most of you get your posts via email I never get to “see” you. I’m going to start truncating the posts via email to see if that doesn’t help bring some of you out from behind the couch. Maybe then it will feel a little less lonely. If you aren’t a subscriber already you can here >> email sign up.


The infographic below tells me that I was pretty consistent up until June where the wheels fell off and then again in October, where I posted 4 weeks worth of updated in a few days.  Looks like the best day to come visit and find something new is on a Monday. Committing yourself to a weekly project will help keep you on track for posting consistently, one of the golden rules of blogging (along with alotta other ones.)


Looking back I’m glad I have all the moments documents, I feel better for getting stuff off my chest like I did in Week 10 and sometimes surprised at myself for being so open about life’s darker moments like Week 7. But I try to remain committed to the basic task of documenting and sharing, sorting through it all and making sense of this thing called life and how to make each day COUNT. So maybe I am done with the reflecting, maybe doing this for another year might make me feel like Bill Murray trapped in an infinite loop (Groundhog Day.) which by the way everyone need to see at least once.  

Plans for 2015

The blog turns five this year in March, I know … FIVE and one thought always comes to mind, and you must think this too, how log can I keep doing this?  I thought with my return to the workforce two years ago that I wouldn’t have time to keep this up and I’m partially right I really have ten million better things to do but I still love it. I admit having a desk job AND blogging is a real body killer and that is something I have to change immediately or I won’t physically be able to enjoy either in the near future. Every passing day of the new year THIS is becoming abundantly clear, so I need to make some touch decisions on where to spend my time. Suddenly I have a 17 year old whose beginning to show cracks from the pressure of finishing high school and choosing which college to attend. Seems the out of state schools are starting to look less and less appealing the closer we get to making a selection, so I plan to spent every extra minute I can to help steer him in the right direction, which is incredibly hard given the fact that I have my own agenda. I regret not going to a big school and having memories of dorm rooms, football games and college sweatshirts.

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sidenote: parents with sons go watch Boyhood and then read Love Life by Rob Lowe.

Then there is the 8 soon to be 9 year old whom I loving call my shadow. She wants to be next to me 24/7 as in skin to skin we need to be touching one another when we read together, watch TV, anything. So you can imagine me sitting at the computer for hours at a time doesn’t really work for her. When I walk out of the kitchen mug in hand her reply is “bye.”

Photo Jan 18, 5 34 51 PM

Its a bone of contention with more than one person in this house so I’m trying to change things one micro action at a time with the help of a new little app called YOU by Jamie Oliver. My sister and I have been encouraging one another to stay on track and do the daily challenges. The app serves up one weekly challenge along with daily challenges, ones that you complete, take a photo and post to share how you completed the task. The idea behind the app is that small changes lead to new ways of thinking new ways of thinking lead to remapping in the brain which inturn least o new habits forming. I totally believe that is the way to change, small steps. If you join in come find me I’m of course modchik.



YOU the APP modchik

Have you started something new this year?


If you are interested in starting a 52 week project I wrote a little tip sheet here.

Interstellar … I Love Sci Fi

January 25, 2015 2 Permalink

I’ve been sitting on this post and I don’t know why. Maybe because its taken me a month of just sitting with it to really be able to grasp what Interstellar is about, there are so many layers, each in their own right deserved of thorough contemplation. Problem is by the time you read this it may be out of the theaters and this is one of those movies that is best seen on the BIG screen. I tried to see the IMAX version last month with Super B but it was sold out. We waited for the crowds to die down. As the lights dimmed I felt a knot begin to form in my throat. I remember feeling this way before, sitting in a dark waiting for Avatar to begin. I still don’t know what that was about.

For the next 169 minutes I jumped,  gasped, groaned, and had to stifle a lot of weeping, in other words I loved it.  I suspect Super did too although I’m pretty sure he and his dad roshambo’ed to see who would take mom to see the movie. I mean how could they not want to see Interstellar, did they not LOVE Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey? Even the sequel was OK. What about Contact or even Close Encounters.

What about Contact or even Close Encounters.

I really don’t even know where to begin on this one. Its all so overwhelming, you have the story about an effort to save the world (our planet is losing oxygen and its food source), coupled with a very intimate look at the relationship between a father (who makes the ultimate sacrifice for humanity) and his young daughter. Then there is the idea of finding an exoplanet where life can begin again but these planets exist so far out there the only way to them is through a wormhole (take a piece of paper, that is the universe, you’re trying to go from one end of the paper to the other. Fold it and stick a pencil through the two surfaces, that’s your short cut (wormhole) to getting to the other side of the paper (see infographic below).

Diagrams explain the physics concepts of

Source SPACE.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration.

I felt this way about Inception, it got under my skin and I was hooked (same director Christopher Nolan). I obsessed in 2012 watching it repeatedly but that movie it did not have the same level of emotional impact as Interstellar. Interstellar hits where it hurts. I suppose its not too much of a stretch to see why this movie was so impactful, I too am struggling with the future. I see it much like the universe a big expansive unknown. And that part about detaching? *clutches heart* I’m not ready to let (him) go.

The movie has made me think about life on earth, who we are (do you ever get in that headspace of what it is to be a human?), why are we here on big blue marble, why do we destroy the place we call home, what does it mean to sacrifice something, how the bond of love transcends space and time, how we don’t trust what we can not see, the parent child connections, how hard it is to “detach” from people and things and how much things will change in lets say the next 100-200 years. By then all of this will be gone. I will cease to exist and this blog will become obsolete.  I wish I could be around for that. I wonder if Einstein wished he had been born later so he could see his theories tested through the ages of time.

After seeing it a couple times I realize that all of these Sci-Fi movies are interconnected.  Watch Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and you’ll recognize the inspiration for TARS and organ pipes! Watch 2010 The Year We Make Contact and you’ll see the familiar John Lithgow and things like black holes and event horizons. I appreciate Christopher Nolan’s nod to Kubrick and his mention of a suggested fake-lunar landing.

I took Astronomy in school and thought Carl Sagan was the father of all space stuff, back then it was Cosmos, The Pale Blue Dot and today its Five Million Years of Solitude and The Science of Interstellar.  Sure I have to re-read stuff like ten times but I’m slowly understanding things like why time slows down the further down you get in a black hole.

The Science of Interstellar

The layers of research, scientific hypothesis and algorithm based computer visualizations behind this movie makes it unlike all the movies that have come before it. I could write a whole post JUST about Hans Zimmer and the music of Interstellar (note: the digital version has 8 MORE tracks than the actual CD, but you do get an interactive Star Chart imprinted on the CD which is just cool! (someone else has done a better job of that here).  I read the director gave Hans a single piece of paper with a brief one page summary about the movie withholding what is was about or the fact that it was a science fiction piece, he stated and I paraphrase here, it was about a relationship between and man and his son. Hans withdrew from the world, holed himself up and came up with a very intimate piece called  “Day One,” that song became the backbone for the score and remains one of the 24 tracks the album. For me it was like hearing Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire or Alexandre Desplat’s Tree of Life … it’s almost like a religious experience for me. I just might have to order myself the Illuminated Star Projection Edition. << updated 1/28 SOLD OUT.

So go escape from your problems for a few hours, if you cant see it make sure you block off time, turn your speakers up REAL loud and watch it when it comes out on Blu Ray in March. I promised you’ll never look up at the sky at night the same way again.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Do not go gentle into that good night – Dylan Thomas

Here are some cool sites if you’re like me completely obsessed.

Interstellar The Movie official site

Interstellar Soundtrack on Google Play

Wired: Astrophysics-Interstellar – Black Holes << really great video explaining Gargantua (massive black hole)


The Finish Line // Week 52

It came and left in a fury. I thought I could get it all done turns out I could not. I had to learn to let go of what could not be and accept that the world will not stop spinning if I don’t get everything done before Christmas. This year I worked the same amount of hours but I did, add in a wedding at the end of November followed by a couple family sessions and it may be safe to say I bit off more than I could even chew. I just need to learn to wrap things up and move on but I let myself get lost down the ol’ internet rabbit hole. Once I get hung up in Photoshop I’m off to find a tutorial and then hours later I am still hopping around watching MORE tutorials trying to cram every last bit of PS knowledge than I can fit thinking THIS will make me a better photographer when all it does it pushed me further and further behind on my projects. Must learn to reel myself in or work with a kitchen timer on my desk.  This week should have been all about fun, office lunches, neighbors dropping off bottles of your favorite champagne and baking cookies. Instead it felt like a race to get it all done.

And it didn’t get all done.

Christmas Eve - Pets Smart

Christmas Eve (first photo with iPhone 6)

Cards were finally mailed but that was not without a lot of whining on my part, as I cleared out yet another stack from under the glass top coffee table I found that I had left my holiday card folder right there for 365 days straight. Never to be touched until exactly a year later but when I opened it I did not find my list that I have been hand editing for the past several years. So if you didn’t get a card from me that is why, I lost a third of my addresses. I had to get over that real fast. I told myself I could thin down the list this way and ends up I was right, I received at least a third less cards (trying to not to take that as a personal reflection upon myself.)

I cleaned for what felt like a week and then pulled the ultimate all nighter, standing on the cold ceramic tile floor from 6:30 am Christmas Eve until  3:00 a Christmas Day. I have never felt such sheering pain pulse through my joints. I couldn’t lay down without an Aleve and a heating pad on board. I forget I am not a young mom anymore. I forget how all the sitting this year has absolutely weakened me.  But I had to get it all done and I did, all by myself. Its this way every year. I buy everything, I send everything, I wrap everything, I cook everything … its a lot on my shoulders and come Christmas day I am exhausted.

That day I made Mom’s Brisket from Michelle Bernstein’s (Macy’s Holiday Cookbook) I also made the Chef’s mix from that same cookbook << that is such a WINNER recipe you guys!!

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Photo Dec 24, 10 50 46 AM

Chefs Mix (Macy’s Holiday Cookbook)

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 I also made Tiramisu. Note the plastic gloves, if you don’t your fingers will soak up the espresso and you WILL NOT SLEEP anytime soon. Trust me on that one.


Around midnight I pulled the Morning Buns from the freezer, unwrapped them, laid a kitchen towel on the counter about the dishwasher and RAN THE DISHWASHER. The result? Eight hours later the fluffiest morning buns to date.

morning buns

Christmas day I didn’t worry about taking a million photos I just tried to stay awake.





I also opted to take MORE film than digital shots.

Mamiya 645AF | Fujicolor Pro 400h







Polaroid Mio | Instax Mini film

Some of my favorites into a neat little collage.

Xmas collage


used copy of Ansel Adams Polaroid Land Photography Manual / Detox Cellulite Seaweed Soap (it exfoliates with coffee grounds!!) //  Life Jump Start Sugar Scrub by Life NK (a bit hard to find these days here in the states // Mink Chocolates (favorite chocolate ever after discovering it on this trip) // Orca Coin purse // Handmade decoupage votive candle holder// Flair colored pens // Secrets of Longevity Dr. Mao’s 8-week program psssst…. it ain’t sitting in a chair blogging. //  camera ornament from Pottery Barn // Mini Instax photos // Starbucks card // Brighton bracelet // Kate Spade Stationary you should see the envelope lining!! // homemade magnet //  classroom ornament // Minion purse – (duct tape + ziploc bag = genius)

My husband and I exchanged gifts, sorta. He asked if there was a new lens or something else I wanted for my camera but I told him everything on my list was too pricey. I opted for a new iPhone 6 which is none too shabby, but of course comes with its own set of issues which don’t crop up until a few weeks later so you’ll have to check back during Week 2 when I am rudely awakened to the fact that I am a slave to technology.

On her list this year? A big box of crayons. Not a iTouch, not and American Girl a big box of crayons. I can’t find the words. Also this is the year Santa was called out on a lot of inconsistencies.  I just sipped my coffee and nodded. Then I remembered I forgot some gifts and went running into the laundry room scaling the cabinets for the box I forgot.

I am my mother’s daughter.



Christmas at my sisters house. She made a beautiful roast and made THE BEST scalloped potatoes from Cook’s Illustrated. << I think this is the recipe she used.

Mom les linz

The rest they say is history and I’m going to leave it there. Whatever stresses I had during this week and the days following are no longer looming and are safely tucked away only to be resurrected next Christmas. I go to bed feeling not so great about the holidays and wonder why I never do anything but pine away every season. For this reason I stepped away from the blog for almost a month because everything I typed was laced with resentment and bitterness. Not really the way I want to end the year OR THE PROJECT (this is the last week for 2014 *throws confetti**) for that matter.

Here’s to no resolutions but continued growth by seeing and trying new things in the coming year. Start your own Burn & Float ritual and get out those magazines and revamp (or start) your Vision Board.

Manifest happiness in your life.

That’s my wish for you.

Christmas Cards Past // Week 51

This week …

my cards came from Artifact Uprising. I waited until the last minute this year yet I was still rewarded and caught the 25% off Holiday Card Sale. The are the 3-in-1 card, you can tear them along the perforated edge to reveal a hang tag, a square photo and I guess you toss the name plate. Instead of writing a long letter as I always do I just gave myself the back of the card, it was short and sweet.

artifact uprising cards


Pulling out the rest of the Christmas decorations I found a stack of our old cards from years past. Its hard for me to look at these, I don’t know why I feel sadness but I do. I think it might have something to do with the oldest leaving the nest soon.

Lets start with 1997 and out first family photo card.

Denim on denim was all the rage, I guess my hubby missed the memo and took off his denim jacket.


I’m not sure where all the cards are for the first 7 years … I’m sure I have them. I do have one of my all time favorite photos of Super B and my mom, I know she’ll smile when she sees this one.


Fast forward 9 years … 2005



This was a second card I made – I didn’t see the original one, of course it had BOTH kids on it, didn’t want to permanently scar kid #1 by excluding him from the Christmas card that year.



Super A was not to sure about this and looking at my choice in cards I’m not either!?! Using any color other than traditional holiday colors was in style. I went for Easter Egg.




This was one of my I don’t care what photo I use cards.  – I mean just look at the photo of my husband and I, he might as well been giving me a firm handshake. And then there’s Super B threatening to lick the gingerbread house. Sometimes its good to lower your expectations.




I loved these photos that year.



New bangs, new camera, same park. (I had a thing for flare, its in alllll my photos that year)

Holiday Card 2010



Still one of my all time favs… taken at our desert place.



from our first family photo session ever. This was the year of the very long letter and the new tradition where we for go something under the tree and donate to a cause the kids chose. (





and this years photo was taken after the first round was a flail. They argued, the rolled heir eyes hey looked in the wrong direction and blinked but just one was pretty close to perfect.  You’d think that was a fake backdrop behind them, they are sitting on the retaining wall and I’m teetering on the top step of a foot ladder praying I don’t fall in the pool.


Life is so busy I let the cards sit until the weekend, until after the last teacher gift is wrapped and party is over.

The school “holiday” performance where every cultural tradition gets equal performance time and the word Christmas is never spoken. Not Super A’s favorite thing in the world but she’ll do it. The problem nowadays is that the kids aren’t performing to parents they are performing to a sea of recording devices. That must feel pretty cold.

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Work is wrapping up, I can finish out the year from home so I tidy up before heading out to my last holiday party. You’d never know from the likes of my office space that I wade through a sea of clutter at home.

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Held at an unlisted bar with no signs, kinda like Fight Club where the bartenders serve bourbon laced brambles in their well trimmed beards and Santa does shots of Casamigos. George & Randy would approve.

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Sunday its the opposite of a speakeasy, its Disney on Ice, although that kinda sounds like it could be the name of a cocktail.  You probably can’t tell from the photo Lily has a BIG SMILE on her face. Show was great and Super A got some good cousin time in.


Photo Dec 21, 11 11 21 AM


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Twenty years later my sister and I STILL show up wearing the same outfit.

I love it.

Next week is my last week from this series. I think I will stretch it out to include a little bit of that last week in December. Or not. I can’t quite figure out the right day to start a 52 week project when the 1st doesnt fall on a Monday.

Oh well, first world problems, right?


It’s Going // Week 50

December 14, 2014 0 Permalink

I’m not sure how I am surviving these last few weeks of the year to be completely honest. It feels like a rollercoaster ride, work, editing, sick kids, never ending baskets of laundry, lunches that are missing key things like sandwiches because mom bought the wrong type of turkey.  There has to be other people out there that feel the same way about the holidays. Right? If you walked up to me right now and asked, “Hey, how’s it going?” I’m not even going to look up from my beer and tell you “it’s going” as in, I am barely holding it together please don’t say another word until I am at least half way through this hefeweizen.  Trust me I know how fortunate I am, I have a j-o-b which affords me the luxury of buying those heavyweight stock cards I wanted, almost all the gifts on my kids list and still have enough for a blow out. I know how lucky we all are yet I still grumble come December, so here’s where little square photos come in. If I can slow down just long enough to take a photo, I can muffle out all the chaos and temporarily forget the frenetic feeling of the holidays.

So what did I capture in those few moments?

Shopping with empty aisles (the key is to go during dinner time.)

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Fresh cut trees. (my photos are still on an undeveloped roll) here’s a snapshot on the phone the night we got our tree. note: 2 weeks later the tree looks exactly the same.

christmas tree

Christmas Light Bokeh (our little house with C7 Ceramic lights and a big ol’ moon.)

Photo Dec 08, 8 00 24 PM

Pink clouds at dawn. (#ibrakeforpinkclouds)

Photo Dec 11, 6 40 28 AM

Monarchs making a reappearance.


Giant school buses painted royal blue.

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Clouds so high the planes fly underneath them.

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Good champagne that after a couple glasses make your lips tingle.

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Gingerbread decorating parties

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Winter sunsets. More contrail.

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Good luck to everyone getting it all done before the man in the red suit comes.

Chocolate For Breakfast // Week 49

The editing continues from last week’s wedding. Family session is wrapped up and now its time for some serious sleeve rolling up and focusing. I need to get the number down from 1111 ( I have a thing about 1111) to around 200-300. I started taking screen shots while I worked on them, a future post about workflow is in the making. I should write about backing up too as one of my friends recently lost ALL of her photos when their RAID system failed. (shudder) she shared this article which I will pass along here. A good reminder for all to back up your stuff. Hard drives, Drobos, Cloud storage is not infallible. I’ve been there and had to spend upwards of $800 to recover a years worth of photos and I only got 85%. It happens. I’m thinking that 2015 should be the year I have all my film digitized and copy my hard drive onto a bunch of disks. I just saw Seagate has external drives up to 5 TB for 143.00 – that is insane. I paid that price for 3TB a year ago so I will probably back everything up to disc and then replace with the 5 or higher, I heard there is an 8TB out there too.

Bottom line just back up. Don’t forget the photos on your phone too.

DEC 1 – let the chocolate advent calendar begin. It was almost a near disaster I dont know if you remember me tweeting this last month. I really thought I was screwed.

Luckily Sprouts had calendars although the batch we got obviously was delivered the week we were having the heat wave as every chocolate insise melted, pooled in a corner and resolidified into an unrecognizable blob.


She doesn’t seem to mind.

Here was my first post about these chocolate calendars four years ago.

Trader Hoes Chocolate Advent Calendar

Work is steady, always fun getting wrapped up and heading out in the rain. Did I mention my office sits directly above a coffee house?

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I wrote about this a few  year ago on Mortal Muses. And I still love this shot. Its mesmerizing to me.


Film version of our winter sunsets.



Rain makes me want to roast chickens and work from home.

Photo Dec 02, 3 07 54 PM

Me working on a rainy day, with the fire and The Family Stone, that movie always makes me cry. If you have not seen it you are missing out! Really great one to watch during the holidays.

Made stock from roasted chickens. I’ll use this for soups or risotto later. I totally copied Shutterbean and colored masking tape. Also go read her Cookbook List for 2014 >> I want one of everything.


Made Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pot Roast in the slow cooker which was unbelievably lean and tender (Whole foods grass fed roast is THE BEST!) and Ree is right DON’T PEEL THE CARROTS!


Saturday my sister and I stopped by a local craft fair that benefitted a friends husband who is recovering from TBI (traumatic brain injury) in a rehab facility after being hit while riding his scooter (the story is here >> SANSOXYGEN.) This was the show you saw me making some prints for back in Week 46. My sister said “I must have the glasses” and promptly bought the painting and then headed next door to the Art Supply store and had it custom framed! I walked away with a painting of a Rolleiflex, not only is Allison (aka wunderali on IG) wonderful photographer but she is a gifted painter as well (she is the artist behind all of these below.)


Sunday we decided we should probably get on the lights. Problem is the bougainvillea is overgrown and you can’t really hang lights on woodsy thorny branches so up on the roof I go. I decided while I was up there that I would also clean out the gutters. Ick. I shoveled black goop out and fished out piles of composting leaves with my bare hands.  I love walking around the roof with my birdseye view.


I woke up a little sore the next day but I’m glad I got out there and did something PHYSICAL for once, its been a long week of editing wedding photos.  – next week we are supposed to get tons of rain,  school holiday boutique, husbands office party and cookie decorating party at my sisters. Before you know it it’s going to be Christmas Eve and I still haven’t put away Halloween nor taken a holiday card photo. Blurgh.

Join me in the procrastination party here: 

 19 Family Photos Gone Wrong … Very Wrong (this is hysterical)

Melting Snowman Oreo Balls (and who doesn’t love balls??  especially Schweddy Christmas Balls)

A good reminder about choices >> Choosing Us (Rebecca Woolf)

Up Next Week 50 which ends in 5… 4 … 3 … 2….

Pumpkin Pie + Wedding Cake // Week 48

Epic week for me right here. One that can only be recapped in photos and not words because I am in the middle of editing last weekends wedding.

While everyone was shopping for Thanksgiving staples like turkey, yams and cranberries I was poking fish. Buy the ones with the clearest eyes by the way. I loved the silver tones with just a spot of red. The sign shoved into the tub of ice read: “Take a photo!”

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Tuesday I ran into this guy in the hallway, he was visiting the dental offices selling I’m not sure what but he did have the Clark Kent thing down, black curl down the forehead and everything.

Super salesman

I have a great boss who leaves me Thank Yous all the time. That’s right I get thanked for just doing my job, pretty awesome.

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Me at work dreaming about the 20 pounds of potatoes I have to peel tomorrow. Wow my hair is getting long.

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Dinner that night was Butternut Squash and Kale Risotto. I can jot down the recipe if you like (its in my head.)

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My kitchen island is still the island of clutter.


Super A has a new habit of starting in our bed…. I have so many thoughts about this but for now I am just to tired to fight this.


Thanksgiving is here and I am working on two things.  Prepping for my wedding shoot on Saturday and making my side dishes. This year I am not making a turkey and I’m pretty bummed about it, but something tells me come Sunday I won’t be missing all the post cooking clean up.


First up is mashed potatoes, Pioneer Woman Mashed Potatoes << this my friends is the recipes that started my whole girl crush on PW. She has me at 1 stick of cream cheese and Lawry’s Seasoned salt. I have been making her potatoes every year since.



This year I was assigned yams which I thought were meant to be Sweet Potatoes so I made Pioneer Woman’s’ Soul Sweet Taters. And yes I did type the following:


Its a pretty dish with the vibrant orange and apple crisp like crumble.  These are sweet like candy, I would even suggest half the sugar, but the crowds may beg to differ as there were ZERO leftovers.

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I also opted to make an Eggnog Pound Cake – its “almost” scratch and it takes like 5 minutes to make. Here’s the secret.

Better ingredients produce a better cake.

modchiks’ mom’s recipe below




We travelled up to my brother and sister-in-laws in our summer best, as temps were forecasted to be in the low 90’s.

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I brought my film camera and because it took me so long to get this week up I already have the scans back. And let me just say I LOOOOOOOOOVE film. And here is something else that is worth mentioning and its pretty HUGE in my eyes. For the first time in like, ever my husband actually liked a photo that I took of him … and I quote “I actually don’t look like a ghost for once.” For the record I have a hard time capturing his true skin tones with his salt n’ pepper turned silver hair.


For the film lovers in the house I don’t know the type of film I used here, but if I were to guess I “think” its Fuji 400h (seeing the pink hills) when I pick up my negatives I will find out. But can I just say BRAVO to this little new-to-me Mamiya 645AF camera for NAILING the exposure.

I am completely obsessed with their two cats, these guys are REAL cats who primarily live on a diet of mice, gophers and small birds. You pet them and a cloud of dust envelopes you. I am truly amazed they fend off cars and coyotes. The last time I let Weebee out I found her taking a breather in the road behind our house (I still have a scar from scaling the cinder block wall to pluck her out of the bike lane.)








The next day I had a family session at the beach. We were lucky and had access to a private beach, there were maybe 4 other people on this stretch of sand. And the weather? fughettaboutit. Beeeeeeeeeeautiful sunny skies. Not really the easiest to shoot in though. This is when you dig deep and try to remember all that you ever learned about white and shadow fill. As I sit here taking a break from editi said photos, all I can say is the film shots are perfect SOOC and the DSLR are sucking the life outta me with all this color tone issues. Le sigh. I am all but convinced that I could do a family session 100% on film. You know what the kicker is I just bought another set of presets from MastinLabs to help me to get the DSLR shots to look like the film.

Here’s a peak:

Canon 5D


Mamiya 645AF



iPhone 5S (vsco and instagram tilt-shift)

Photo Nov 28, 4 29 57 PM

Mini Instax


At the end of the session I like to take a couple instant pictures, one for them and one for me.

and then there was the sunset….

I am truly blessed to in this world.  


The next day was GO DAY. Time to shoot a wedding.

I woke up and realized I couldn’t find my flash and had to make a last minute run to the camera rental store. I’m lucky I didn’t have to buy one. Can you tell I don’t do weddings often? Like ever? Well that changed when my sisters college roommate was looking for a photographer. I was more than happy to catch up on my wedding skills. Plus the location was to die for.

Photo Nov 29, 1 35 22 PM



Here’s a really grainy forward facing selfie just to document – HEY YOU DID IT.

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So let me back up and tell you what I was feeling the day after, remind you this is BEFORE I got the film scans back. (see below.) I think my mom could maybe best describe that with the phone she made to me that night. She probably was thinking to herself, ‘Wow, super glad I called HER today.”  Sorry mom I know that was no picnic. what happened was panic had set in that morning when I uploaded the images. I usually make myself wait at least 24 hours before I even look at my captures. I definitely won’t edit for a couple days, I just need time to sit and think about things. I broke my rule and I looked and I wasn’t really wowed to be honest. What I saw was potential, photos that I knew would take hours of editing to achieve a “professional” look. A sentence to a week of on again off again marathon editing sessions and oh by the way I have a j-o-b too. I was facing an extended stay in the COD. The chair of death, that’s what us photographers call editing.  I could only hope that the film held some gems, but at this point I was a little deflated and insecure.

The next morning I dropped the 7 or so rolls, really frustrated I had so little to develop. I was conservative with the film camera. Anyway I cried a bit on the shoulders of the local lab guy and he assured me that something good was bound to come out of a handful of rolls. I promised the kids we’d see Big Hero 6, it was a good distraction. but then they got to the end and I cried in my popcorn like a baby. My shell was beginning to crack and all I wanted to do was sink into a big fluffy Baymax.

It wouldn’t be until 5 days later that I saw a little glimmer of hope. The scans were good. Really good.


More about it next week, I have to get back to the COD and then think about getting Christmas stuff out, but I should probably put away the Halloween decorations first.

Happy December and remember…



yeah I pulled Carl out again so if you are reading this in your inbox you have to go online to see this gem.

RIP Thanksgiving // Week 47

I keep saying the same thing, I’m not ready for the holidays to be here, Christmas I’m looking at you. Last week I attended an event that hasn’t holiday theme (and I appreciated that seeing how we were only two weeks in Thanksgiving, but the shopping mall (a beautiful outdoor collection of stores) had already raced ahead Turkey day successfully squashing my hopes of letting the feeling of fall linger just a few more weeks longer. Decorations adorned every sign, kiosk and lamppost and Christmas carols were being pumped in through hidden speakers throughout. I grumbled as I fought my way through the crowds who had lined up to watch the lighting of the 100 foot tree. I get it, its a short shopping season again with Turkey day falling so late in the month but GEEZ can we at least vow to not start everything until we’ve taken that last bite of Pumpkin Pie pretty please with whipped cream on top? I promise I will do just as much damage the next day if you promise to honor one of our last great American traditions. I am a Mayflower descendant after all.



As I said last week … RIP Thanksgiving.

Here’s to the forgotten holidays. RIP Thanksgiving.

A photo posted by Lindsey Garrett (@modchik) on

Christmas please STAY IN OUR OWN LANE

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I’m not quite sure I will be ready for Thanksgiving next wee, I mean seriously who really is. If I see people’s neatly set up table the night before I just might throw up (no offense .. its not you its ME.) I want to be ready but every year its the same dilemma, how do you create the extra time required to do the extra stuff. I really have no excuse because I am not hosting, all I have to do is make a few dishes, but like years past I will still feel compelled to make a FULL Thanksgiving dinner for my family the day after because to be honest I just want to recreate my childhood holidays over and over again by serving my family Carrot Casserole. I am not going to do that to myself this year. I may not have the leftovers but I won’t have the bottomed out feeling like I killed myself just to say I upheld tradition.

But I love tradition.


my sis and I (in full Mayflower garb) circa 1975



So what do I cook this week?  Turkey.

Turkey Cutlet Recipe

I will try to get the recipe over on the recipe index but for now here you go: It is so easy and so delicious and if you don’t have Orange Marmalade on hand just zest a bit of orange peel and use a dash of agave or maple syrup to at the touch of sweetness.

Photo Nov 23, 7 10 58 PM

Photo Nov 23, 7 11 04 PM

Midweek was a disaster, all I can tell you was that it involved a plumbers snake, a plunger, a bucket, rubber gloves and bleach …. lots of bleach. The next day I removed all wet wipes from this house. Enough said.And speaking of gross…

Thursday night this little guy crawled out of my salad. I kid you not. He crawled right up my fork and I (of course) grabbed my iPhone (and olloclip so I could get a close up – he was the size of a pencil eraser. He even had a teeny tiny drop of Olive Oil on his head. We safely placed him outside and I pitched the rest of my salad.

Leaf bug

My recent order of MOO cards arrived and I’m having an issue with the white balance not quite right. Here’s what I am getting. I’m not sure what is going on with the whites but they are looking into reprinting the entire batch. Top one is the new order. You know how much I love my MOO cards, I am a little heartbroken with this last batch.


I wrote a final post, What I Learned last week for Mortal Muses and in true form I delivered in the final hour. I was a member of this group back in 2011-2013 and they have decided to end the collaborative, but word is they are working on something new. I am really excited for the next chapter, in reflection I realized how much that group and the woman who came before me (and after) influenced the direction of my photography. The final post where all alumni had a chance to say good bye is here.

Mortal Muses

The weekend had me outdoors again, hiking  the trails and enjoying our warm (albeit very very dry) weather. I hear every bone in my body groan, and my knees sound like grinding sandpaper but I’m still doing this. I’m so tired of feeling so bad. Its now my #1 GOAL for 2015 to regain my health and see if I can’t stave off the doctors.

Henry David Thoreau

me and my shadow

I posted a review of My Social Books yesterday so make sure to check that out – there is a coupon code for 30% off your book!


OK, time for me to go start cooking, I have to be up north in like 6 hours with Pioneer Womans’ Mashed Potatoes << the recipe that made me fall in love with this country girl…  and Sweet Potatoes for 20. I’m hoping to sneak in my favorite >> Pecan Pie too.

I hope you had a wonder Thanksgiving!

My Social Book Review & Coupon Code

A few weeks ago I saw another blogger on Facebook pose the question that went something like: would you want a copy of your Facebook ‘life’ captured and then print and bound to enjoy offline.  The answer in my head? Heck Yeah !?!  You mean order a copy of all my status updates, photos, memes, jokes and captions from Facebook and bind them into a tidy little book? Uh,  yes please.  To think of all the would be digital memories just hovering above aimlessly in a cloud, now printed  in a book I can enjoy. Can we do this for my blog too I wondered?

Formally known as Likebooks,  My Social Book is not a new kid on the block. In 2012 they won an award for innovation which garnished them lots of press and glowing reviews. I poked around and read through some comments and someone had mentioned a 20% coupon floating around.  For 20% off I thought I can at least try a book. The process ended up being so simple and the site ?? so well laid out and fast, my one book order quickly turned into 5.


Here’s how it works.

1. To begin they will ask you to link to your Facebook account so they can access your Facebook activity (timeline posts, cover photos, comments) you have an option to link up to Instagram to automatically pull those photos as well.




Choose Subject & Period

Drag the slider to adjust the dates or enter in specific dates using the calendar, Your estimate book cost appears on the right.



Next choose Content that you want to appear. I chose to include everything, but then opted to uncheck a few.


Connect to Instagram if you want those photos to appear. You can toggle having comments* on/off, doing so did not affect my page count.

*I believe these are only comments on Facebook that are made when you share your instagram on your timeline.


It is IMPORTANT to note that if you leave both Instagram (icon) and Instagram Photos boxes checked you will have DUPLICATE PHOTOS.


I unchecked “Instagram Photos” and it removed the duplicate photos successfully.



You can choose how many comments to include, I limited mine to 5, otherwise the book was cost prohibitive due to size.

My_Social_Book options

At the beginning of the book you can choose what will appear in the printed mosaic. Note: friends photos appear current, if you are printing 2009 those profile pics are not from 2009, which I kinda a bummer but I get it.


Chose a cover – you can go Classic.  All photos are editable and you may change to any photo that has been previously uploaded to Facebook.


Choose your accent color and/or a cover color. You have a choice of soft or hardcover with prices reflecting your changes.

When you are done with your changes you can review the proof (up to 36 pages).




Prices start at 13.90, average is around 60.00. I just made one as a gift and it spanned 2008-2014 for 65.00. My books were just over $200 for all five years at 20% off. I’m happy to have invested that amount and get the photos and memorable moments I shared on to paper, better to pass down a book then an external hard drive.


Books SHIP FREE (at least is is right now according to their site no code needed) I received all 5 books within a week of ordering. They were securely packaged and arrived in perfect condition.




I am so happy with my books. They are like yearbooks for adults. My kids and I got a kick out of going through the years and seeing how much I OVERSHARED. Gah. It is striking to see how things went from all status updates (2009 is pages of text only) like “can’t sleep has jet lag” to no updates only photos and memes … apparently I like memes. Especially this this one.


Can you tell the year I joined Instagram?


After receiving my books I reached out to the good folks at My Social Book to gush over their product and inquire about a discount code for the holidays and they said YES! So here you go… use code MSB30SPECIAL to receive 30% off your entire order. Quantities are limited to the first 300 orders, so save me one would ya I will need it come January 1st!

You can also make books for family and friends you are connected to on facebook for gifts.  Special tip about making books for friends: if you don’t know when the person joined FB chose beginning at 2007 when FB started and then when you look at the proof you can see on the first page the first post, then adjust the date accordingly so the dates printed on the front and spine matches whats inside. 


Thank you My Social Book for the coupon code, this is not a sponsored post just a personal review of a product I tried, really  liked and thought you would too. I was not compensated for any material shared.

For more information you can watch their YouTube video or visit their Facebook Page.

Splendidly // Week 46


Ice skating. This can not possibly be good for her ankles. Or her knees. Which reminds me I need a good orthopedist for her. She is so pronated when she runs knees in feet flaring, its almost too painful for me to watch. I think pilates would actually be perfect for her but I just can’t see her having the patience to master micro movements.  Contrary to her expression she had a great time and I loved just getting outside again.

Ice skating

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These two grabbed my arm as we walked by Urban Outfitters and screamed PHOTO BOOOOOTH!


I was back in the dentist chair to get my permanent crown. I let her give me lidocaine (mistake) and had to wait out the arrhythmia, it was pretty bad for a few minutes. I swear its a wonder I get enough blood to this brain of mine sometimes. The tooth was pretty angry all week and developed some pretty severe sensitivities. I’m beginning to think I made the wrong decision in even messing with a crown that was never hurting in the first place. My husband (also a dental practitioner) believes if it doesn’t hurt don’t mess with it. Like poking a bear. I poked the bear!!!!! Waaaaaaaaaaa!




Since then I’ve been researching places that will remove all the amalgam out of my mouth so I can begin the detoxification (chelation therapy) but so far seeing guys in hazmat suits performing the procedure has all but qwelched that desire. That and the top place everyone seems to go to is across the Mexican border. My husband thinks I am a total loon.

Speaking of loons … it was Weebee’s birthday she turned 12 and she is as weird as ever, eating Ritz crackers, getting stuck in drawers left open and liking the cheese off your Cheezie fingers.



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Found out the Canon Service Center moved when I tried to drop off my camera fro cleaning. Brand new facility is beautiful inside, like someone said on Yelp! its like a camera museum. You can see every single lens on display there. Dropping of your camera for sensor cleaning will set you back 49 bucks but its worth it, the only drawback they update the firmware and when that happens all your custom settings are wiped. Which then explained the next day why I picked up a dead body (as in camera), the auto shut off had reset to never. Can you imagine if I had been on a shoot? Yikes.

Speaking of shoots I’m doing a wedding in a few weeks and yes the night terrors have begun. I dreamt the other night that I was not only the wedding photographer but also the event coordinator and I was so busy getting the event right that I forgot to do the photos .. ha ha (although it didn’t feel very ha ha when I woke up.)  Very similar to the showing up an hour late for your final exam dream. Classic.

Thursday I had a meeting with the resort and got to do a walk through. Happy to do this wedding for a special friend of my sisters. Its going to be an intimate gathering, no assistants or heavy lifting I’m most excited about shooting them on film. And the venue? Well it doesn’t get better than this my friends.

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Friday I headed to Whole Foods to grab my weekly CSA box that frankly isn’t working out for me anymore. It never was actually. Problem is my refrigerator is like 20 years old and loves to freeze EVERYTHING so last weeks tender bok choy got annihilated. I’m loving the apples and organic oranges but all the greens are wilted or frozen within a couple days. I’m sad to end this. I really hope Santa brings me a new fridge or that I wake up one morning to spoiled food so I can finally have a reason to go buy one. My husband just can’t see replacing things that work (are you seeing the pattern here??)

overheard week 46

Anyway when I went to grab the veggies I was STOPPED DEAD IN MY TRACKS at the sight of shiny new red cards all lined up. I smiled, did a complete 180 went back to my car fished out a couple cameras( yes I pretty much have a camera on me at all times) and set up shop curbside. I even passed out business cards.

Feeling the mojo of that day’s shoot I spent the weekend working on my store. I made a calendar and some notecards for a friend who’s husband (who also happens to also be a rockstar font designer) is recovering from TBI (traumatic brain injury) you may remember me talking about it in Week 19  his story >>  his friends are hosting a shopping event so I made a care package for them. I really forgot how much I love to do stuff with my hands (other than click and type.) I happily printed out work and packaged everything up in cello and stickers.



141117_ESTY_12From my ETSY STORE

If you are in the San Clemente area here’s the flier! (click to read Vernon’s story)


Saturday Super A and I were invited to attend a blogger event hosted by Splendid & local blogger, Kristen Howerton of Rage Against the Mini Van.


The event featured THE CUTEST craft, a hanging planter, guided by Open House Creative << a space where you can explore the world of color, art, shapes you name it… and its geared to all ages.


And of course there was shopping. If you know me then you know I love my drapey clothes and I consider this LA brand a personal staple. I could wear their Athletic Woven Crop Pant every day.


We picked up dinner on the way home, as one would when you are exhausted. Someone had fun with mom’s phone. I’m waiting for her to ask for one. It’s coming people.


Next week I’m going to review my order from My Social Book (they gave me a 30% OFF CODE for you!!) :D I spend a long time reading through my past life, its pretty interesting to see how we adapt and change to conform into the social media paradigm. It has me wondering how much of what I think and do are influenced by my top two, Facebook and Instagram. Do you ever tell yourself you are going to take a “break” from it? I’m curious. I have thought about it but for someone who’s mojo is web driven I fond it really hard just to quit cold turkey. Maybe after the first of year when this project is done.

(shrugs shoulders)

Have a great weekend people and remember …